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What if you could one day unlock your door or access your bank account by simply "thinking" your password? Too far out? Perhaps not.
Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, are exploring the possibility of a biometric security device that will use a person's thoughts to authenticate her or his identity.
Their idea of utilizing brain-wave signatures as "pass-thoughts" is based on the premise that brain waves are unique to each individual.
Iead Rezek, of the Pattern Analysis Research Group at the University of Oxford, says the proposal has "flair," but is impractical: Too many things are going on in the brain at the cellular level that all look the same from a scalp distance. "Signals from an uncountable number of nerve cells are smeared and lumped together by the time we are recording the brain-wave patterns," says Rezek. "Authentication is akin to recognizing speakers from muffled voices because, for example, the speakers are some distance away."